zig's X-Men Origins: Wolverine Uncaged Edition (PC) review

Clawing dudes is fun, bub.

You know what gameplay mechanic I hate? Quck time events (QTE). The ones where they flash a series of buttons on the screen and you have less than a second to press each one, or you have to mash one button inhumanly fast. I've been playing video games for 15 years and I'm still completely unable to do these things. Maybe I'm defective; whatever, my point is they ruin games for me. God of War was one of the worst offenders, where practically every other enemy required severe button-mashing and every boss involved several QTEs.

So when I tell you the new X-Men game is a God of War clone, I find it important to specify that it keeps the QTEs to a very bare minimum. Some of the bigger enemies and bosses require button-mashing, but even those seemed less strenuous and more doable than God of War's. Other than that, the games are indeed very similar. Lots of hacking and slashing and punching and grabbing combos, along with some Tomb-Raider-esque puzzle/platforming segments thrown in to mix things up.

Another element  basically ripped from God of War is the Rage meter, which allows you to pull off special moves as it fills. Your character also earns XP and levels up by killing dudes; with each level you earn "Stars" which can be spent on new abilities like the Claw Spin, the Claw Drill and the Claw... something else.  In addition, you'll find "Mutagens" throughout the world which enhance your character with abilities like earning more XP per kill, increased defense, increased maximum health/rage and so on.  All of this is fine and good, but ultimately it doesn't really add any depth. You get most of the combos you'll use in the game within the first hour or so.

The story is light and unimportant; it jumps back and forth between a government mission in Africa and three years later, just after Wolverine has had the Adamantium coating put on his bones. It doesn't make much sense in terms of character progression; you've still got all the same skills and mutagens that you earned "three years later" when you go back to an Africa mission. Of course making sense would only matter if the story was something you could possibly care about. More importantly, this juggling act helps keep the environments from becoming repetitive.

I had a lot more fun playing X-Men Origins: Wolverine than I ever did with any of its forebears. It took me about eight hours to complete and I'm pretty sure I won't be going back for a second run-through; it's not a game I would pay full price for, but I found it on sale for $30 and it was almost worth that. It's also not a hard game, at least not on the Normal difficulty (and this is the highest difficulty available on your first playthrough).  It looks pretty good; there's a satisfying amount of gore and the gameplay is solid if unoriginal.

Technical notes:  I played the PC version and I used a Xbox360 gamepad.  The game ran very well at 1920x1200 with 4xMSAA with every setting on high.  System specs: Intel C2D 3.2Ghz, 4GB RAM, 8800GTX, Windows7 RC1.

3 Comments
Posted by warbadger

I hate QTE's.  I feel like it takes the control away from the player.  If I wanted to just hit what the game tells me to hit, I would play a rhythm game.  Action games are not the place for QTEs

Posted by needforswede

QTEs are rarely used effectively.  I thought this game did them well, and so did Resident Evil 5, but it's games like Ninja Blade that really make you hate them (sucky games like that can make you hate games in general, though).  When Wolverine is struggling to do something strength-related like open a mechanical door or rip a monster's head off, it's appropriate that the game makes you struggle too (by mashing one button rapidly).  You can argue that placing button prompts on-screen is silly and makes it LESS immersive, but I feel it puts me more into the game because it causes you to exert yourself (as much as you can when playing a non-Wii game) just like the character you're controlling.

I'm now playing through the game again on hard difficulty and I think they should have made that difficulty available for your first playthrough.  On normal it feels like the enemy is in a constant boss battle with you as the boss, and there are rarely times that you don't feel unstoppable.  It allows you to be too careless most of the time, but on hard you actually have to employ some strategy and think carefully about how to use your skill points.

I probably would not have bought this game if it wasn't released on my birthday, but I was feeling pretty good about it after seeing gameplay footage and I'm not the least bit disappointed.  Good review, by the way.

Posted by Yzzerdd

Complaining about QTEs? This has never been before EVER! Rage against the well raged machine.

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